Exploring Balekambang Beach in Malang
by Intan Ertifanny
Friday, September 14, 2018
I have been living in Malang, a city in East Java for four years. From all the years that I’ve spent here, I know that this city is full of touristy places that you could ever think of. It’s 30 minutes away (depending on the traffic) from Batu, which is where the main of tourist attractions are at with its theme parks and paragliding site. The city is also on the higher ground and surrounded by mountains nearby, where people usually go when they come here.
But what I find so underrated is the hidden gem of beaches in Malang. If you go further South then you will find a series of beaches in one place. Which each has its own name and offer distinct amazing landscape. This one that I was lucky enough to visit is called Balekambang beach.
I got asked by my friends to go to the beach just the day before, I had nothing to do and I heard beach so naturally I quickly said yes. These days with the stress of writing a thesis, nature is an escape that I just couldn’t refuse. We didn’t really plan it to the details, it was just an easy quick one-day getaway that we can just go to but if you’re planning to go explore the beaches in Malang, please know that some of them might require you to request for a reservation as it has quota on how much people can go there. Some reservations usually come with a price that includes a package of overnight experience, tents, tour guide and other services like boat or food. Good news is you don’t need to have reservations to go to Balekambang beach, it’s one of the closest and easiest to access from Malang city. So you can go there whenever you want!
We planned to leave at 9 am but we ended up leaving around 11.45 am after having some lunch. I think in total I was sitting in the car for about 2.5 hours with just quick stops for gas and ATM. The journey of getting to the beach was also my favorite part of visiting the beach. The ride was pretty smooth other than the occasional bumps so it’s very much enjoyable, so keep your eyes open people! The beach is basically located on the other side of a small mountain so prepare yourself if you’re sensitive to motion sickness because you are going to face a winding road up and down the hill. It was all worth it though because the view was incredible! We passed through a beautiful forest and we could see a sneak peak of the glistening water underneath.
Arriving At The Beach
We got there at 2 pm, to get inside you have to purchase a ticket for Rp.15.000 per person or equals to just a little bit over a dollar! Also additional Rp.10.000 for the car. When we get to the beach, there were not many people present. We went there on a Thursday so that was probably why but I think it was also because it was 2 pm and the sun was out in its full power. Indonesians don’t like tanning and there was not any foreigner when I was there. So there were only small numbers of people out in the water, others were sheltering themselves from the sun under the trees or eating and drinking in the little shops along the beach. Before I went out there I made sure to apply sunblock because the sun can really be brutal on the skin. Sunburn is never fun!
The beach itself was amazing, it was clean and it will remind you a lot like Tanah Lot beach in Bali because Balekambang also has a temple on the water. I guess people call it “Tanah Lot of East Java’ for a reason.
We parked further inside, leaving us just a short walk away from the bridge to the temple. That was the first thing we did, we went up to the temple to see the view from up there and it was wonderful. There was also a flying fox gear up there if you want to slide down to the beach for about Rp.20.000 (Less than 2 dollars), you might want to judge about the safety of it for yourself though.
As we were going to walk down the bridge, just nearby the temple you will see the sign that will lead you to another place called ‘Sumur Pitu’ which mean “Pitu Well” we were told that it was a site in the forest with a natural well but we decided not to explore there.
Instead, we went down to the water, we walked underneath the bridge to cross to the beach on the other side of the cliff that held the bridge above. We found nobody was there and it was like a private beach for us! There were rocks and cliffs surrounding the beach and it was just beautiful. We enjoyed our time there just chilling, eating Bakso (meatballs with broth) and drinking coconut water straight from the coconut itself at the little shops and playing in the water until it was getting dark.
You can’t really see the sunset from this beach but being on this beach when the sky is transitioning to get dark is still a great experience! The sky was gradients of blue and orange that gets darker by every minute.
We stayed until it was completely dark and then we went to clean ourselves up, they do have toilets in the little shop you can use and after that, we were all set to drive back to the city. Be aware that there were rare to no street lamps at all on the road along the hills, so be careful driving in the dark!
It was a very refreshing getaway for me and I love that there are even more beaches for me to explore that is accessible only with two hours drive. If you’re visiting Malang to explore Mount Bromo or any other mountains, spare your time to check out the beaches too!
Tips Before Exploring:
- You can rent a car but it is also accessible with a scooter or motorcycle as it would be a cheaper and faster way to get there, especially if you’re traveling solo.
- Please, respect the culture! The locals probably would understand and shrug it off when a foreigner wears a bikini, but beaches in Java is usually a family beach and not to mention there is a temple on this beach. If you were more considerate of the local culture and habit, it would highly be appreciated.
- Try to go there during the week because Balekambang beach is one of the most famous and accessible to the locals so the weekend would certainly be more crowded.
- To know a little bit of Indonesian (especially when it comes to doing transactions or food) would make the trip much easier. People in this kind of place rarely understand English.
- If you don’t really want to stay too long in one place, there are many other beaches like Goa Cina Beach or Sendang Biru Beach nearby that you can check out!